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Ophrys incantata

O. incantata was first described from the Adriatic coast of Dalmatia (Croatia) by Devillers and Devillers-Terschuren in 2004 and is a member of the O. exaltata group of Ophrys. It's name literally means
enchanted .

This species is thought to be endemic to Croatia, although similar plants are found on the opposite side of the Adriatic (Gargano peninsula, Italy) which have yet to be formally identified. At present it is known with certainty to have a limited distribution along the Dalmatian coast and hinterland, where it can sometimes occur in large populations. Recently however a population has been identified in Istria which despite a close morphological resemblance to O. incantata is being held by some authorities as a new species. It is the first of the Croatian Spider orchids to flower, coming into bloom in early April at the same time as O. liburnica, at least two weeks before the Istrian based O. tommasinii. It is not an uncommon species, being found in short grassland, garigue and abandoned terraces on most suitable calcareous to neutral substrates, particularly those with a moisture retentive character.

Some botanists are sceptical of speciation between O. liburnica, O. incantata and indeed O. tommasinii and separating them is indeed difficult. There are however three generally held, though admittedly unreliable characteristics that will sometimes differentiate the two earlier flowering species. The first is the larger size of the basal swellings in O. liburnica which in O. incantata are small or often imperceptible. Secondly, the marginal hair in O. incantata is lighter in shade and more attenuated at the distal end. The broad yellow marginal banding can be found in both species but is more common and more prominent in O. incanata.